Ashley Wallbridge has kept up with the music industry’s fast-paced changes throughout the last few years. Best known for bringing trance together with progressive house in his sets, his last album is no departure, being an amalgam of genres and intriguing sounds. Now he’s busy in the studio again and on the verge of releasing a string of commercial singles with artists such as RedOne and Akon, while he also gets ready for a short U.S. tour during the holiday season. Still he finds time to return to his Marquee residency December 19 and 25. So what’s the secret to his explosive sets and up-tempo tendencies? Well, Wallbridge really likes his coffee.
Ten years ago, did you think you’d go on to achieve this level of success?
No, I didn’t. This time 10 years ago, I was working in a phone shop that I got fired from. That was when I was trying to DJ and, you know, with the lifestyle of DJing you’re always up late. I was turning up at the phone shop on no sleep and, yeah, I got fired.
What does a typical studio session look like for you?
A load of coffee is the first thing. I work better at nighttime, so usually I’ll go in until about 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning. I’ll wake up usually around midday. I’ll have four or five coffees and some breakfast, get myself awake and then do about 15 or 16 hours in the studio. I really never know what I’m going to be doing until I sit down. I’ll have a call with my manager and the team and see what needs to be done, and then just sit down and just go for it.
And how do you take your coffee?
Strong. I’ve got a coffee machine in the studio. I’m constantly topping off with little pots. I go through a good 15 coffees in a day, so by the end of the day I’m on like caffeine explosion. It’s pretty hard to get to sleep, so that’s why I’m up till God-knows-what-time in the morning.
Do you ever get writer’s block when you’re making music? If so, what do you do to break through it?
Yeah, I mean, sometimes I’ll sit there and I’ll be making something and it just isn’t working. You know, 10 or 11 hours I’ll sit there, and just nothing is happening. If that is the case, I just need to get out of the studio. I’ll go do something with friends or go do something with the missus. I’ll get inspired if I get out of the studio. The worst thing to do if you’ve got writer’s block is to just sit there in the studio. ’Cause it’s not gonna change.
Is there anyone you’d really like to collaborate with in the future?
People like Zedd, Calvin Harris, Alesso—the guys who have changed the music scene. To work with them would be pretty amazing.
What can we expect from your upcoming track releases?
Most of them are commercial tracks, [but] commercial with a club vibe. So they would be good on the radio, but also good to smash out in a club.
How do you decide what to play in the club?
Different cities have so many different tastes. I’ll play in Vegas and I’ll do a certain set, and then I’ll play somewhere else in the U.S. like L.A., and it’ll be completely different. But you know, like I said about Zedd, Calvin and Alesso—that kind of style is perfect for Vegas. So that’s my favorite style at the moment.
Where are your favorite places to play?
Every time I play Marquee, I just get a buzz. Two-and-a-half, three hours, it just goes so fast. I love the vibe.
How was it hanging out with Bruno Mars last time you were there?
It was pretty surreal. Everybody knows who Bruno Mars is. As soon as he came in, I was like, “Wow. First thing’s first: Let’s have a selfie together.”